Fourth of July

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The essay “Uses of Diaspora” by the literary theorist Brent Hayes Edwards, critically demonstrates the different usage of the term African diaspora by exposing the historical, cultural, and political aspect of the term. Edwards clearly states his need to “excavate a historical and politicized sense of diaspora” in his own work by “focusing on black cultural politics in the interwar period particularly in the Harlem Renaissance and pre-Negritude Fran cophone activity in France and West Africa”(Edwards 45). The author initially starts his essay by continuing off the scholar Caching Toloyan signal call to “return to diaspora” because it “is in danger of becoming a promiscuously capacious category that is taken to include all adjacent phenomena to which it is linked but differs in ways that is constructive.” But also mentions the “confusion of multiple terms floating through recent work”(45). Edwards argues that “an intellectual history of the term is needed” because diaspora is specifically conjectured in black scholarly discourse (46), which creates confusion to the reader. Edwards succeeds in indicating the reader the different aspects and uses of diaspora by comparing various historians from the 1950’s, such as: Joseph Harris, George Shepperson and St. Clair Drake. His methodology reflects confusion, not in the content of the essay but particularly on the essay as a whole. The structure of the essay seems to invoke a sense of understanding because he specifically talks about specific areas of diaspora and goes in depth with articulation, which helps the reader comprehend the historical content. However, his arguments can go in circular form due to the fact that he agrees and disagrees with certain scholars and historians that w... ... middle of paper ... ...ians that contributed to diaspora yet fails at executing his own argument. In addition, he interplays with historian’s work, which leads to misunderstand what his point is. To conclude, on Brent Hayes Edwards essay The Uses of Diaspora demonstrates clear information regarding the intellectual history of diaspora. Edwards did an excellent job on including exclusive individuals who contributed to diaspora and have contributed to history. However, in some areas he did not execute a transparent agreement or disagreement with the scholars and historians that he stated on his essay. The content in his essay is informative yet the compiled information can distract the reader from focusing on the actual purpose of this essay. In other words, the historians and scholars that he included in his essay received more audience than his particular contribution to the essay.

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